Monday, February 05, 2007

and the Mama Bear said...

"Don't screw with my family, you nosy little trespassing baggage, you!" What does this tale of ursine homeownership have to do with anything, you ask me? Put it this way: When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, Yamamoto was reported to have said that they'd wakened a sleeping giant. When someone makes me mad, it is a bad, bad idea. You know, without getting to Soprano-esque about things - its just that I'm less tolerant than your average bear. To wit:

When an arguer argues dispassionately he thinks only of the argument. - Virginia Woolf

I am rather agree with this point - what's the point of debate just for the pleasure of batting opposing viewpoints around in a game of idealogical badminton? I don't mind disagreeing with someone, but you must be passionate about your feelings on any given matter. In proper company, I don't mind having a debate with someone - and I did mention that I have a temper, right? Happily, these days, it takes a lot to get me deeply and righteously pissed off. If you were interested in doing that, one surefire way to do so: Make baseless personal attacks on my friends or family.

I recently had occasion to be really and truly angry at someone - but I surprised myself and continued attempting to have a discussion with them. For various and sundry reasons, they were not in a mood to discuss, but continued to attack Scotts' character. (Mistakenly). I asked them to give an/some examples of when he'd supposedly wronged them, and they declined, saying that it 'didn't matter', and that 'he's just out to undermine me'. None of this could be further from the truth, but I still didn't get mad. I pointed out that it was irrational of them to put me in a position between a friend and a family member, and that if they couldn't give me specifics, it was time to back down because they were accusing him of some pretty mean things. They refused and said that I 'wouldn't believe them."

(This is the bit where I got mad) "Ok, well I've got an early morning and a lot of emails to reply to, we've got to go," I chirped acidly. Scott, along with everyone else in the room, hadn't heard any loud or angry voices, was looking at me, bewildered. You, the person who never wants to go home? go home? Whaaa? I could almost see the thought bubbles forming around his head.
"Hmmm....ok, just'a sec, babe, I'm playin-"
"No. NOW. We have to go NOW." (eyebrows raised)
"OhhKAAAAY." (weird look)

I waited all the way till we got in the car to start yelling - an improvement for me, sadly. I got a half-assed, passive-aggressive 'apology' email last night, the icing on the cake. I didn't fire off an angry note in return, though- my response was carefully calculated to explain how unnacceptable the actions were, how bad the words they used about Scott made me feel, and (of course) exactly how, where, and finally, precisely which areas they could stick various body parts into if they still felt I should tolerate such behavior. Of course, I wrote bits saying, 'hey, I don't hold your behavior the other night against you're still a friend in my book" and the sign-off was firm, but friendly.

I got an email back today that said, "Wow, that was a really difficult email to read. You were right. I got it." Mission accomplished. So I have a question for you, after all this: What do you do when someone tears into your loved ones (without grounds) - do you a) keep quiet and hold a grudge against them b) lash out in high-pitched shrieks that only the neighbors' dog can hear? c) say nothing, but unleash a torrent of hateful remarks about them behind their back d) punch them and walk away e) never speak to them again or e) talk them to death or f) resolve it like a normal person.

Please vote, really - I'd love to know if I'm the only one who likes their rage served ice-cold, full of razor-sharp barbs of truth and the Jello of common sense, topped with a Cool-Whip-y serving of proposed reconcilliation.


Ciarra said...

Oh dear, I'm really sorry you had to go through that. That's extremely difficult to deal with, especially coming from someone you regularly see or associate with.

I'm not sure how I would have reacted. Most likely I would have done the following in this order:

A. Gasped, being completely shocked and taken aback at the accusations.
B. Repied in a gaspy high-pitched voice: "what?!" "how?!" "when?" "where?!"
C. After hearing the response I'd go into defense mode with expressions such as, "No, no, it couldn't be; That's not what he meant; That's not how he is;" etc.
D. Gotten into the car to leave and start yelling at Hub-E what So-And-So said and the nerve! and I can't believe it! and I'm so pissed! and all that.
E. Gotten home and continued to yell in disbelief and walk around sighing and fuming, venting, deep in black thoughts.
F. Maybe, depending on severity of situation, would have called up So-And-So to reiterate how mistaken they are and defend Hub-E again, trying to remain calm and respectful. Try to reason with So-And-So and convince them they are mistaken.
G. Not be satisfied until I had a heartfelt apology.
H. If I didn't get an apology, I'd probably give So-And-So the cold shoulder and go out of my way to avoid them.

Maya said...

I love how honest you are. I'm totally over it after the reply I got to my email to them. Vannie and I talked for like an HOUR the other night- she's such a sweetie - I hope the wedding goes great (rubbing hands togeter diabolically while thinking of all the stuff I told her).

Anonymous said...

Sweet baby J. I don't know what I'd do, but based on recent awful experiences with the psycho that married my father-in-law, I guess I'd smile and try to be the peacekeeper, then rip her a new one on my blog, and hope I never have to see her again. But my lying, irrational psycho doesn't admit to any wrongdoing.

girl and dog said...

I've been in that situation once or twice, and I normally determine that they're not worth my time or energy. I cut off all contact and if I HAVE to see them, I am polite but curt and dry. I don't believe in yelling, screaming, and making things worse than they are. Two wrongs don't make a right in my book.

chiefbiscuit said...

I'm a bit like the last commenter. I am afraid I hate and avoid conflict, and would tend to quietly withdraw - the person would wonder what they ever did wrong. I would cool off the relationship. I wouldn't be as brave as you and send off an email ... I'd want to leave it, give them the cold shoulder. It's either a kiwi thing or a generational one - we don't tend to confront. Maybe we should ...

desiree said...

I don't know. I have reached an age I like to call "the crazy" because whereas I used to be rational, calm and collected and face things head on now I am a screaming maniac who will threaten to bludgeon you until you stop being stupid. So, I guess, I don't know how to resolve things like a normal person anymore.

I do think, however, the crazy aside, that you handled this situation quite well. You got your point across. That matters.

My name is Heather said...

I would have gotten defensive and acted like it didn't bother me. Then I'd tell a million people about how wrong they were, point by point. Then I'd obsess about all the stuff I should have said.....which would be something like, "When you say these things it really hurts my feelings. I hear you're angry and I'm not going to talk to you anymore if you are going to be accusatory." It sounds so good in my head.